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Full text of "Exhibition of sculpture, drawings and lithographs by Aristide Maillol and other French artists: March the thirteenth through March the twenty-seventh, 1927."

EXHIBITION OF SCULPTURE 
DRAWINGS AND LITHOGRAPHS 
BY ARISTIDE MAILLOL AND 
OTHER FRENCH ARTISTS 



MARCH THE THIRTEENTH THROUGH 
MARCH THE TWENTY - SEVENTH 

1927 



WORCESTER ART MUSEUM 
WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS 




HEAD OF A WOMAN 

BY 
ARISTIDE MAILLOL 



CATALOGUE OF THE EXHIBITION 



MAILLOL 

What shall be the artist's goal? The question seems to 
have puzzled our own time more than it did the past. In 
olden times art served great concerns of practical life — 
religion, most often; it developed its own ulterior habits 
and convictions through generation after generation of 
apprentices serving in the botegas of the masters; what 
theories it evolved about its own essence, it seems to have 
kept largely to itself. Outsiders said art was trying to 
reflect nature, to idealize nature, to show, as it were, what 
nature ought to be — nature of course, meaning chiefly 
man. It was inconceivable that art could concern itself 
with anything less obvious than man or more interesting 
than how he looked. 

But simple as the matter may be, it is not as simple as 
that. Art seems indeed to be concerned with man, but 
rather with the way he feels than the way he looks. It 
would seem to be clear enough that ministering to some 
inner need — some essential requirement of balance, repose, 
perfection of internal adjustment, is more important than 
offering information as to man's and nature's exterior 
aspect, which is always more or less before our eyes anyway, 
whether we have art or not. 

Consciously or instinctively, this seems to be the way the 
old sculptors felt about it. This seems to be the sort of 
thing they reached or groped for, as the case might be. And 



CATALOGUE OF THE EXHIBITION 

as all practical men know, the one thing they could be sure 
of was the stuff they worked with — their material and its 
limitations and possibilities. If their wood or stone or 
marble possessed any secrets, there was a fair chance that 
those secrets might yield to intelligent understanding. And 
if length and breadth and thickness, which were also aspects 
of their material, had any potency of their own, then it was 
the sculptor's business to know whatever might be known 
about these. For their material then, they developed their 
tools; insofar as their material might become the instrument 
of a conscious purpose, insofar as it might assume significant 
as well as expressive form, they developed an attitude toward 
that material. Was it accident or sense that dictated in 
prehistoric times the carving of a moving object like a 
running deer, in an organic material, like bone? Was it 
good taste or simple directness of mind that made the 
Negroid sculptors so respectful of the wood they shaped 
into the little finial images of their dieties — and shaped with 
such surprising eloquence and restraint? 

Certain it is that the early sculptors felt the more mon- 
umental of their works as masonry and architecture — the 
Egyptians with their seated scribes, their sphinxes, their 
colossal Memnons; the Assyrians with their lions, their 
warrior- and hunter-kings; the Greeks with their gods, 
their lapiths and centaurs; the men of the Middle Ages 
with their sainted bishops about the cathedral doors. Cer- 
tain it is that it remained for the Hellenists and Romans 
and the men of the maturing Renaissance to carve (as 



CATALOGUE OF THE EXHIBITION 

Michelangelo did in his unfinished Slaves) crested waves in 
marble, and later still, for men like Rodin to give us (as in 
his Apollo) surging figures, emerging from luminous voids 
and vaporous shadows, while his little Italian contem- 
poraries formed ladies and dead Christs in flowing marble 
veils. Of the four elements it was the later sculptors who 
mixed air and water with their stuff. The earlier men 
confined themselves to earth and fire. 

And so old sculpture seems to have found both its defini- 
tion and its release within the material and the craft — and 
that old work is of a vernal character. Later come the 
autumnal fruits of the art, and the artist seems to be 
seeking an escape out of his materials into illusion. We 
cannot quarrel with the ambition or the quest of these 
later men, excepting when they relinquish the more vital 
thing in the pursuit of it. Only the very giants of the art 
however, succeed in holding onto both. The others are 
like Antaeus — their strength leaves them unless they 
stand upon the ground. 

It can hardly be doubted that Maillol is of the giant 
class. His sculpture differs from that of his master Rodin in 
that it impinges upon architecture rather than upon painting. 
His very thoughts come to him in three dimensions. He 
makes drawings, but his drawings seem to be carved as if 
through some resisting material — he seems to drive his 
pencil rather than pull it across the paper. Even the most 
delicate of them suggests colossal force. His statues are all 
solid form. Walk around them and they unfold their 



CATALOGUE OF THE EXHIBITION 

contours like the horizons of a rolling landscape. Move 
among them in the dark and run your hand over them. 
Their forms bulk toward you like clouds driven before the 
wind, but with the solidity and logic of the mountains. 

He holds to his craft. Of wilful distortion there is none. 
But when the issue lies between realism and the reality of 
solid stuff, he never hesitates to sacrifice the former and 
exalt the latter. This gives his work its strange character 
of the inevitable. To appreciate the sculpture of Maillol 
it is necessary to remember that art is a reconciliation 
between two sets of conditions: one, the theme that nature 
suggests; the other, the material and its use, which nature 
dictates. Nature plays on both sides of the game. The 
very essence of man's participation is in making the recon- 
ciliation just. What Harunobu does with line, what Gior- 
gione does with colour, what Beethoven does with sound — 
Maillol does with three-dimensional form. And with it at 
times he attains a grandeur that makes him the peer of 
any of them. 

g. w. E. 



CATALOGUE OF THE EXHIBITION 

SCULPTURE 

ARISTIDE MAILLOL 

i torso of young woman. Bronze 

2 Desir. Plaster 

3 FRAGMENT FROM THE MONUMENT, Hommage CL 

Cezanne. Plaster 

4 spring. Plaster 

5 summer. Plaster 

6 torso (unfinished). Plaster 

7 draped figure. Plaster 

8 nude. Plaster 

9 woman crouching. Bronze 
io woman kneeling. Bronze 

11 woman standing. Bronze 

12 woman seated. Bronze 

13 reclining figure. Bronze 

14 RECLINING FIGURE, FRAGMENT. 'Terra Cotta 



CATALOGUE OF THE EXHIBITION 

SCULPTURE 

ARISTIDE MAILLOL (continued) 

15 torso of woman, fragment. 'Terra Cotta 

1 6 WOMAN ARRANGING HAIR. Bronze 

17 nude seated. Bronze 

1 8 NUDE SEATED. BrOUZe 

19 NUDE STANDING. Bronze 

20 dolphin. Bronze 

21 HEAD OF A WOMAN. BrOUZe 

22 HEAD OF A WOMAN. BrOUZe 

23 victory. Bronze 

24 dying soldier. Bronze 

25 meditation. Bronze 

DRAWINGS AND LITHOGRAPHS 

A group of drawings and lithographs by Andre Derain, Marie 
Laurencin, Henri Matisse, Aristide Maillol, and Pablo Picasso 
are on exhibition in the Print Room.